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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Medicaid Expansion, Welfare Fraud, And Clemency On This Week's 'Capitol Talk'

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

Gov. Bullock introduced his Medicaid expansion plan this week. It promises to help the uninsured and bring Montana tax dollars back to the state. Bullock's plan faces opposition from Republicans who worry Medicaid and other welfare programs are riddled with fraud and create disincentives to work.

Sally, Mike, and Chuck also talk about Monday's controversial Health & Human Services committee hearing. The hearing began as an inquiry into problems with the state computer system used for verifying eligibility for social services. It soon veered off into claims of rampant welfare fraud, leading one Democrat to suggest the hearing was simply a preemptive attack on Medicaid expansion.

Sally, Mike and Chuck discuss the competing tax-cut proposals working their way through this session. Gov. Bullock wants to maintain a $350 million surplus as a 'rainy-day fund', while some Republicans want to use the surplus on tax cuts.

Inspired in part by the Barry Beach case, the House Judiciary Committee heard a bill that would give the governor the power to grant clemency to prisoners without parole board approval in non-death penalty cases.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Retired in 2014 but still a presence at MTPR, Sally Mauk is a University of Kansas graduate and former wilderness ranger who has reported on everything from the Legislature to forest fires.
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